Those who follow me on Instagram know I’ve just returned from a road trip to visit family and friends in Colorado, where I managed to also sneak in about a hundred miles of road riding. A 50 mile ride on July 4 around Colorado Springs resulted in bike gear soaked with sweat, which went into a plastic bag before the trip home. I figure sweaty bike shorts, jersey and socks stewing for three days in the trunk of a hot car make a perfect test for my newest sports apparel detergent.
The short story: WIN Detergent works, and it works well. I’m very impressed with its performance, and at $10.95 for a 32-load bottle, it’s a decent value as well.
Why your athletic gear stinks even after laundering
During strenuous activity, your sweat passes through your high tech wicking fabrics and the water part of it evaporates. The parts that make sweat grody remain behind. This now-concentrated grody secretions have their own strong odor,becoming food for bacteria that produce substances like butyric acid, which is responsible for the odor of butter, Parmesan cheese, and (perhaps paradoxically) vomit.
The sweat wicking properties of many high tech fabrics also keep wash water from getting all the way into the fabric and washing the dirt away — the water and detergent can’t get to the fibers, so it never really gets clean. Hence, persistent nastiness for all of your jerseys in spite of multiple washings.
We’ve discussed various folk remedies such as vinegar and borax for synthetic fabric funk in the past, but these add-ons to regular laundry detergent don’t seem to work for rebound odor. Good sports specific detergents like WIN, however, are formulated specifically to remove oil and gunk from synthetic fabrics. This two minute video explains how WIN works.
Since receiving my sample of WIN, I’ve run most of my jerseys through a load of WIN Detergent, and all of it smells as fresh as new.
Blue vs Green?
You’ve seen in the photo that WIN comes in a Blue “Fresh Scent” formula, and a fragrance-free Green formula that also meets US EPA “Safer Choice” standards. Both have the same price, and both seem to work equally well.
I’m somewhat sensitive to strong perfumes, but the “Fresh Scent” formula is completely unobjectionable to me.
My only complaint is the packaging — unlike many modern liquid laundry detergents which integrates a spill-proof measuring cup into the sealing cap, the (small) measuring cup snaps on over the screw on cap. It’s a minor inconvenience to be sure.
For helpful tips and instructions, I invite you to read the WIN Detergent FAQ, which addresses questions about fabric softeners (okay with WIN, but not great for technical fabrics), animal testing (nope), and so forth.
Disclosure: I received a sample of WIN from the manufacturer, but I intend to purchase WIN (probably the Blue label) and continue using this for my athletic apparel. It’s a good value at $10.95 for a 32 oz bottle good for up to 32 loads. The Amazon links above benefit me as an “Amazon Affiliate.”